The Old Testament Tabernacle : Introduction

The Old Testament Tabernacle


When you are reading through or studying the book of Exodus you will find in Chapters 25- 31 and also in Chapters 36-40 detailed instructions for building the Tabernacle and its furnishings. You will also find the specifics for the priests clothing and how they were to be anointed. Now at first glance this may not seem to be very exciting reading, especially if you are not well acquainted with the Old Testament. But when you begin to look at the typology associated with the Tabernacle it will become very interesting.

As we will see in this study the Tabernacle has many wonderful types found within it and it is also associated with many wonderful truths found elsewhere in the word of God. The tabernacle will show us pictures of Salvation in the Church Age. It will show us truths about God’s desire to fellowship with man. It will also show us many different numerical truths which proves to us that God had to be the one who wrote the Bible.


Some will ask why we should study something out of the Old Testament since we are living in the Church Age and our doctrine comes from the New Testament. There are two verses that show us why we should study the Old Testament.

Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that                           we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

1 Corinthians 10:11 “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are                                            written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

So, we have two main reasons for studying the Old Testament. Number one is for our learning and with this knowledge comes patience and comfort. Number two is for our admonition which will not only instruct us but also reprove us and give us direction in our lives. Admonition and Learning are two key things to maturing spiritually as a Christian.

Much of this study will be showing how the Tabernacle and its furnishings are a type of something else found later in the word of God. Therefore, it will be good to establish what we mean when we say something is a type.

Hebrews 10:1 “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of                             the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year                                     continually make the comers thereunto perfect.”

Note that this verse says the Law was a shadow of good things to come. The word shadow is a good way to describe a type in the word of God. To have a shadow one must have a real object and light on one side of the object. The shadow is based on the real object but may not look exactly like the object it is portraying. In the above verse the law with its sacrifices every year which could not save Israel forever is a type of the one true sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ which can save us forever (Hebrews 9:12). So, in the word of God the true object is found many times in the New Testament and the now that we have the light of the Holy Ghost on the entire word of God, we can see the shadow that the object cast in the Old Testament.

What was the main reason for the Old Testament Tabernacle:

Exodus 25:8 “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.”

God has always desired to dwell with man. We will see that when God came into the Tabernacle, he dwelled between the cherubim which were on the mercy seat. That is why everything in the tabernacle was sanctified and kept clean because God will not dwell in an unclean place.

The tabernacle is used in the wilderness wanderings and then the temple is used once Israel is in the land (1 Kings 6:1-3). Then God came down and dwelled in the flesh in the body of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:14). This is why he referred to his body as a temple (John 2:18-22).

Now that the Lord Jesus Christ has risen from the dead he dwells in the body of the saved person in the form of the Holy Ghost (John 14:23 ; 1 Corinthians 6:16-20).

This can be done because of the spiritual circumcision that takes place as a result of Salvation (Colossians 2:9-13) which gives God a clean place to dwell.

God has always wanted fellowship with man and even though it was done differently throughout the bible God has always found a way to make it possible if man will simply do what he says to do. This is why it is so important to be saved and the only way to be saved is through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Old Testament Tabernacle : Handout


1)  Give two reasons and verses for them why we should study the Old Testament.

2)  What is a good way to explain what a type is in the word of God? Give an example of a type.

3)  What is one of the main reasons for God having Israel to build the Tabernacle?

4)  Explain how this relates to us in church age.